Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Super Dash planned for BG Obstacle Course on May 20

(Submitted by BG Parks and Recreation Department) Registration is now open for the inaugural Super Dash at the BG Obstacle Course! Boys & Girls, ages 4 to 12 can get dressed up as their favorite superhero or invent their own then on May 20 run through our new Obstacle Course Trail located behind the BG Community Center at 1245 W Newton Road.  As the kids complete each obstacle they will receive badges recognizing their super accomplishments.  At the conclusion of the race, kids will have super sized fun at our Family Festival where they will get to do crafts, play games,  participate in contests, listen to live music, and eat.  For more detailed  information, please visit our website at www.bgohio.org/parks or our facebook page at www.facebook.com/bgparks.rec as the date gets closer.  Registration opens April 3rd. $15 Resident/$18 Nonresident if registered by Friday May 5th $25 Resident/$28 Nonresident if registered after Friday May 5th Visit www.bgohio.org/parks for information on how to register or to print off a  registration form.  Checks should be made out to BGPR Foundation. Register by check/money order by mailing Registration Form & payment to BGPR Foundation, 1291 Conneaut Avenue, Bowling Green, OH 43402 or register in person by cash and check (NO CREDIT CARD) at either the BG Community Center or Simpson Building. Credit Card payments will only be accepted through the website www.imathlete.com.  Users will have to create a free account, search for  BG Parks & Rec Super Dash and register through the website.  A  service fee will be charged by the website. OTHER INFO -Race Day Registration & Check-in begins at  9:00am -Races begin at…


AgCredit announces profit sharing

(Submitted by AgCredit) AgCredit – one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness – recently declared a patronage refund of 24.57 percent for 2016 that results in $18.4 million being refunded to its member borrowers. The patronage payment will provide a refund to the lending cooperative’s shareholders of 24 cents for every dollar they accrued in interest on their loans for the past year. The patronage refund is the equivalent of 1.21 percent net savings on interest. Over the past five years, AgCredit has averaged a 29.43% patronage refund rate and has paid patronage refunds for 30 consecutive years. During this time, it has distributed more than $246 million to its borrowers. Earnings for 2016 were $49.6 million. AgCredit’s year-end numbers reflected a 4.66 percent growth rate and $80 million increase as loan volume increased from $1.716 billion to $1.796 billion. “Though our business continues to perform very well, due to the cyclical nature of agriculture, we are seeing an increasing number of farm operations being negatively impacted by lower net margins. Many operations will need time to adjust to the lower margins. Even with the challenges facing agriculture, our mission to serve agriculture and our rural communities has never been stronger,” said AgCredit CEO and president, Brian Ricker, who shared and reviewed information about the co-op’s financial status with approximately 500 members and guests who attended its annual meeting held April 12 at Meadowbrook Park in Bascom. Even with historically high asset quality levels the cooperative lending association continues to mitigate credit risk as a preferred lender working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s…


All of BG invited to giant community block party

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Citizens of Bowling Green are invited to a giant block party on Saturday, April 22. Actually, it’s a party covering multiple blocks and the entire city is welcome to attend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The idea for “Court Street Connects” was born at a Community Action Plan meeting last year. The concept for a block party was top on the list for local residents wanting to bring about positive changes in city – especially the East Side. Court Street was identified as a great location since it is a natural corridor between Bowling Green State University and downtown. But the party is reaching far beyond that one street, said Heather Sayler, the city’s planning director who has been working on the Community Action Plan. “To improve neighborhoods, you’ve got to bring a lot of people together,” Sayler said. “It’s really exciting.” Those coming together to make the block party a big bash include the city, BGSU, Wood County, fire division, police division, parks and recreation department, bicycle safety commission, BG City Schools, Wood County Historical Society, local businesses, library, bookmobile, the Common Good, county solid waste agency, county park district, Wood County Hospital, East Side Neighborhood Group, Habitat for Humanity and more. “It’s all free,” Sayler said, including many children’s activities. Various types of entertainment will be provided from the Wood County Courthouse steps, including acoustic music, theater and poetry reading. There will also be “pop-up art” along the street. Q’dobe will have a food truck on site. The city will also be test driving  bike lanes, which will be…


Park district takes aim at archery range and other projects

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Park District’s board approved eight projects last week to spruce up the parks – including one taking aim at the new archery range. The bids on all eight projects came in at or below the estimated costs. Among the projects approved was archery range construction costing $9,973, awarded to K&K Construction, of Weston. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said there is a lot of community interest in the “long-awaited” archery range located on Linwood Road behind the county historical center. The project approved Tuesday is a concrete slab floor for the shelter where archers will stand when they shoot at targets. The entire archery range project is estimated at $46,500. Besides the 76-foot concrete slab, the rest of the project will be done in-house by park district staff. The 10-lane range is expected to be done in July or the beginning of August. An Eagle Scout candidate is building targets to be placed in different length lanes. Following is a list of the other projects approved: Beaver Creek concrete work costing $9,355, awarded to K&K Construction. The work will replace part of the walkway and patio leading up to the retreat center, and put a concrete pad in for handicap parking next to the sidewalk. Bradner Preserve boardwalk lighting costing $7,425, awarded to Gross Electric. The LED lighting will be installed along the boardwalk between the parking lot and the nature center. The center is scheduled to be open to the public on May 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. North Baltimore parking lot at the south end…


Voters want to see Latta and Trump’s tax returns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Every Friday they show up with their signs – fueled by frustration and fear about the future of the nation. This week, constituents of Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District had two main questions for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta at his office in Bowling Green. But as usual, they had to settle for talking to the congressman’s staff. First question – why has Latta refused to meet with his constituents? “Where is Bob Latta. We really want to see him,” said Betsey Davis, of Indivisible Maumee River Progressives. And second, where are President Donald Trump’s tax returns, and why did Latta vote that the president shouldn’t have to make them public? “Where are his taxes? Let’s have some honesty,” Davis said. As some citizens stood out along North Main Street, others went into Latta’s office and voiced their concerns and questions to the congressman’s staff. Despite repeated requests, Latta has not responded to their efforts to meet with him. “We’ve invited him so many times,” said Kathy Bangle, of Fulton County Indivisible. “We want to talk to him. We want to hear what he has to say. We come every single Friday. His aides are wonderful. But it’s not the same as talking with him.” On Friday, the posters again revealed the thoughts of the constituents. “Latta is Lost,” “Wanted for Not Doing His Job,” “MIA.” They periodically broke out into chants of “Where is Bob?” “We need him to listen, and we need him to start protecting us,” Davis said. “It’s not good enough,” to talk with the congressman’s aides each week. “We’ve…


Court Street Connects prompts temporary parking changes

In conjunction with the Court Streets Connects Festival along Court Street, temporary parking restrictions will be implemented. In order to accommodate the temporary bike lane, no parking signs will be posted from April 17 – 30 along the southern portion of the 300 and 400 block of Court Street. The metered parking along the southern portion of the 200 block of Court Street will also be bagged during this timeframe. On April 22, during the festival, the 200 block of Court Street (from Prospect to Summit) will be closed to traffic. The closure will begin by 8 a.m. and the street will re-open by 5 p.m. Questions about this may be directed to the Planning Department.


Earth Month events planned throughout county

(Submitted by Wood County Solid Waste Management District) April is Earth Month and multiple agencies are collaborating throughout Wood County to provide events geared toward conservation, education and family fun. The Eighth Annual Community Earth Day Celebration will be the culminating event held on Sunday, April 30th, 2017 from 2-4 pm.  This free family event is open to all and is filled with fun hands-on learning stations. Try your hand at archery hosted by the Wood County Park District, take a nature walk with the Bowling Green Parks & Rec Department, power a light bulb with the City of Bowling Green’s power generating bicycle, give the Solid Waste Management District’s giant Earth Ball a roll, and hold a crayfish at ODNR’s Scenic Rivers station.  Interactive games will be provided by the Northwestern Water & Sewer District, BGSU, and Snapology.  The City of Perrysburg, the Wood County Master Gardeners, and Partners for Clean Streams will host earth friendly activities, and the Wood County Library’s CNG bookmobile will be onsite providing earth friendly stories! The Montessori School of BG, located at 515 Sand Ridge Road, provides an ideal backdrop for this Earth Day Celebration!  Enjoy 14 acres of land, visit a Learning Lab, play on the playground and spend some time at the Black Swamp Preserve and Slippery Elm Trail. We encourage you to get involved throughout the month of April to make Earth Day every day!  For a full list of volunteer and educational activities, please visit www.communityearthday.com.    


Drone gives city new view for infrastructure work

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sounding like a distant swarm of mosquitoes, the city’s drone took a test flight down Pine Valley Drive on Thursday afternoon. The flight showed why Bowling Green intends to start using a drone to help with its infrastructure projects. The drone can provide up-to-date images for roadwork, water, sewer, or other utility projects. In the past, the city has relied on aerial photographs taken for the Wood County Auditor’s Office. The problem, though, is that the photos are taken every two years. “In between things change,” said Jason Heyman, the city’s Geographic Information System coordinator and unmanned aircraft system pilot. For example, the street being surveyed from the air on Thursday was still under construction when the aerial photos were taken. “This is a huge advantage to us,” Heyman said. Now, he will no longer have to answer the question, “Why aren’t these roads on your maps?” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said Google Earth satellite images show roads under construction long after they have been completed. “It’s night and day,” Fawcett said. The drone came at no cost to the city. Bowling Green Police Division seized three drones during a reshipping fraud investigation, according to Major Justin White. The fraud involved a Bowling Green resident having merchandise shipped to him using hacked credit card numbers, then reshipping the merchandise elsewhere. The scheme was like money laundering for merchandise, White said. The police and fire divisions kept one of the drones for each of their operations.  The police are still working on developing a policy and looking into FAA requirements. The fire…


Crim Elementary stages musical to make learning fun

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The backstage was buzzing with nervous actors. The frog and toad were preparing for their big scenes. The snail was brushing up on her slow motion moves. The squirrels were getting ready to make a mess. And the understudies were standing by. In front of the stage, on the gymnasium floor, the eager audience sat with their legs criss-cross applesauce style. When the curtains opened, an excited “ooooooooohhhhh” filled the gym. That’s just the reaction second grade teacher Stacey Higgins was hoping for with the debut of the first musical Thursday at Crim Elementary School. A dress rehearsal was performed in the morning for fellow students, with the big show to occur in the afternoon for parents and other fans. The musical, “A Year with Frog and Toad Jr.” featured all the second grade students – an ambitious endeavor with such young students. “It ties in with our curriculum on the seasons,” Higgins was quick to say. But she added that the performance was also something more. “They need these types of experiences,” she said. “Too much time is spent testing and preparing for tests. We need to get back to making school meaningful and enjoyable for kids.” The musical got the kids singing, dancing, acting, reading narration and designing the colorful set. That is all learning, Higgins stressed. “We want them to have experiences other than just taking tests.” As the audience filed into the gym, and the second graders fidgeted back stage, Higgins admitted to being a little nervous herself. “It’s a good nervous,” she said. “This if the first…


Businesses being recruited to work on drug abuse in workplace

(Submitted by the The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board) In an effort to address the safety and economic threat of drug abuse in the workplace, the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board recently partnered with the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, Safety Council, Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, County Commissioners and Working Partners to launch the Working Partners Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative (DFWCI) in Wood County. One of the key objectives of the initiative is to establish a nucleus of five businesses that have been facilitated through an intensive drug-free workplace (DFWP) management consultation and technical assistance course designed to help them implement or refine their drug-free operations, including second-chance policies. To that end, the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board is currently seeking applications from local businesses to participate in the Working Partners Technical Assistance Course. Participation in the two-day course is free and allows for each business to send three representatives to the session. Business leaders who are interested in applying for the course may complete an online application at https://form.jotform.us/70715706440149 or should contact Amanda Moser at 419-352- 0626 to learn more information about the opportunity. Businesses that complete the course can expect to receive an operational road map to guide them in administering a DFWP policy/program, systems to attract and keep quality employees, increased risk management and insulation against corporate liability, enhanced public relations, and savings in time and dollars. “We believe this is an excellent opportunity for several local businesses to really take a deep dive into their drug-free workplace policies and create systems…


BG student on way to school struck by truck

Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci notified families of an accident this morning at the corner of Poe Road and Fairview Avenue.  An eighth grade student was hit by a truck driven by a high school student.  The student was taken to St. Vincent’s Mercy Medical Center.  The parents were notified, came to the scene and then went to St. Vincent’s.  The student was responsive and appears at this point to have minor injuries. Scruci added that this is a good time for parents to remind students about safely crossing streets and for drivers to always be aware while behind the wheel.


BG may spend $478,000 to stop stink from sewage

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s not easy – or cheap – to make sewage smell like roses … or at least less like sewage. Bowling Green officials are considering spending about $478,000 to take away the foul odor that sometimes emanates from the city’s water pollution control facility on Dunbridge Road. The plant is the source of many complaints, primarily from Bowling Green State University and from nearby businesses. “It’s a sensitive issue for us,” Bowling Green Utilities Director Brian O’Connell said. “We’ve had numerous complaints from businesses in the area.” The facility staff believes the two likely sources of the stench are the septage receiving station and the biofilter that removes the bacteria from the waste and turns it into a harmless solid. A misting odor neutralizer was added to the biofilter’s exhaust fan in 2016, but it has had limited success. The septage station has no odor control. “The odors can be quite foul,” O’Connell said. “We’ve tried to get this problem licked in the past,” but the fixes always proved to be temporary. So that sent the city’s utility staff on a field trip last year to a wastewater plant in Pennsylvania, according to O’Connell. The plant installed a carbon filter system to treat the exhaust air for odors. That change ended all odor complaints, including from the Holiday Inn located right next to the plant, O’Connell said. The permit for the plant allows for “zero odor discharge from the perimeter,” said Doug Clark, superintendent of the Bowling Green plant. “We want to be good neighbors,” O’Connell said. So on Monday, O’Connell asked…


County recorder reports first quarter transactions

(Submitted by Wood County Recorder’s Office) Wood County Recorder Julie Baumgardner has released a report covering the transactions of the recorder’s office for the first quarter, January 1 thru March 31, 2017: 1,295 deeds were recorded for this quarter, compared to 1,435 deeds being recorded for the same quarter last year. 967 mortgages, with a valuation of $4,216,562,440.16, were recorded for this quarter, compared to 991 mortgages, with a valuation of $3,763,692,164.90 being recorded for the same quarter last year. Numerous other documents were recorded, in addition to the above, for a total of 4,142 documents being recorded for this quarter, compared to 4,285 documents being recorded for the same quarter last year. Baumgardner paid a total of: $239,290.11 into the county for this quarter, compared to $248,368.41 for the same quarter last year. $104,833.81 of the total for this quarter was paid directly into the county general fund, compared with $109,026.91 for the same quarter last year. $118,288.30 of the total for this quarter was paid into the housing trust fund, less one percent back to the county general fund by the state for the timely distribution of the money to the fund, compared with $122,665.50 for the same quarter last year, less one percent paid back to the county general fund. The remaining balance of $16,168.00 was paid into the recorder’s equipment fund for this quarter, compared with $16,676.00 for the same quarter last year.  


Changing of the guard for courthouse security?

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After 20 years of securing the Wood County Courthouse, there may be move for changing of the guards. Upon the retirement of Tom Chidester, chief constable at the courthouse complex, a debate began over whose job it actually is to protect the courts. The current security program was devised cooperatively by the commissioners, judges, sheriff and other county elected officials in the mid 1990s, when the county was trying to meet the 12 requirements of the Ohio Supreme Court. A court security office was created and staffed, and now performs several functions like scanning people and packages entering the court complex, standing guard during trials and providing general security functions. But now Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn has questioned whether his office should take over the court security role. The county commissioners, in a memo to the judges, sheriff and prosecutor, suggested that the current system be retained. “It is a cooperative plan that has served the courts, the courthouse complex, and the citizens of Wood County well,” the memo stated. “We are troubled by the premise that we are being asked to undo the work of many previous elected officials, and that the result of our decision, either way, will be disagreement, argument, and animosity where there has been little or none for over two decades,” the commissioners stated. The system was well thought out, has evolved over the years and works very well, the memo continued. Wasylyshn said his only motivation is to ensure that his office is meeting statutory requirements for court security. “The question I’ve had was what…


More staff needed to handle spike in child abuse

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There is no “normal” when it comes to child abuse and neglect cases. On Monday night, five children were taken into custody when their parent was arrested on the highway in Wood County. Last week, Children’s Services was called in when a parent died of an opiate overdose. So Wood County Job and Family Services Director Dave Wigent got on the county commissioners’ agenda to request an additional Children’s Services staff member. But by time the meeting rolled around on Tuesday, Wigent’s request had grown to two additional employees. “The situation has gotten worse,” he told the county commissioners. “We’re setting all-time records” for the number of child abuse and neglect cases being investigated. Child abuse investigations increased in Wood County by nearly 25 percent in 2016 – a jump never seen before by the staff at Children’s Services. The number of cases went from 718 in 2015 up to 894 in 2016 – meaning 176 more child abuse investigations. Cases of abuse were reported in every community in the county. And so far, 2017 looks no better. “This year we are trending above that,” Wigent said, noting that March set an all-time high of 90 new cases. And most are not simple. “These cases are very time consuming.” The lack of local residential facilities for children with special needs is also creating more work for staff, who have to make monthly visits with the children. Most children with special needs in custody are not living in Wood County. “We have children across the state,” Children’s Services Administrator Sandi Carsey said. “There’s…